The Street Within: After being homeless, residents find apartment life difficult

On a Friday afternoon in mid-September, Big Mama and Top Shelf stood in wonder and disbelief in the courtyard of the apartment building. They had finally arrived.

“Wow!” Big Mama exclaimed after finding her mailbox.

She took a deep breath, raised her arms and let them fall, her knees slightly buckling. Weeks spent waiting, years spent wondering slipped away.

“I’m speechless right now,” she said, sobbing. She covered her face with a tissue and wept.

Hours earlier, the two women had gotten the phone call they had nearly given up on. Their case manager said they could move in to their apartments. They were stunned and wasted little time.

Laughing and joking together, they hopped on a southbound bus. They couldn’t get away from their tents fast enough. Ahead lay their new homes with hot water, bathrooms and kitchens full of appliances.

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